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CBP P-3 Orion crews (AMO) and partners seize nearly 9 tons of cocaine

CBP P-3 Orion crews (AMO) and partners seize nearly 9 tons of cocaine
Archive image: U.S. Customs and Border Protection P-3 Orion aircraft, assigned to P-3 Operations Center, Jacksonville, Fla., preflight inspections are being made at Base Aerea Capitan Juan Delgado, Tocumen, Panama.
U.S. Army photo by Spc. Andy Barrera.

WASHINGTON D.C. — CBP (Customs and Border Protection) AMO (Air and Marine Operations) National Air Security Operations Center, P-3 Orion Long Range Tracker and Airborne Early Warning crews and United States Southern Command partners conducted three counter-narcotics operations in July and August that disrupted 17,620 pounds of cocaine, denying transnational criminal organizations operating in drug source and transit zones an estimated $333.2 million.

  • On July12, a P-3 Airborne Early Warning crew detected a suspect go-fast vessel in the Caribbean Sea. Partner nation teams tracked the vessel and discovered approximately 12,456 pounds of cocaine in a suspected offload location.
  • On August 6, a P-3 Long Range Tracker crew located a suspect fishing vessel in the Eastern Pacific Ocean. The aircrew surveilled the vessel and guided the United States Coast Guard Cutter Forward to conduct a law enforcement boarding. Coast Guard teams seized 3,416 pounds of cocaine and detained four individuals.

National Air Security Operations Center P-3 Orion capabilities continue to prove essential in support of United States Southern Command operations, contributing to an increased law enforcement presence in narcotics transit zones. This partnership bolsters support to the U.S. and international law enforcement by sharing information and intelligence to help expand target packages.

AMO has two P-3 National Air Security Operations Centers, located in Jacksonville, FL and Corpus Christi, TX. These P-3 aircraft operate throughout North, Central and South America in defense of the borders of the United States and to prevent attempts to smuggle persons or contraband. 

AMO safeguards our nation by anticipating and confronting security threats through our aviation and maritime law enforcement expertise, innovative capabilities, and partnerships at the border and beyond. With approximately 1,800 federal agents and mission support personnel, 240 aircraft and 300 marine vessels operating throughout the United States, Puerto Rico, and U.S. Virgin Islands, AMO serves as the nation’s experts in airborne and maritime law enforcement.

In Fiscal Year 2020, AMO enforcement actions resulted in the seizure or disruption of 194,220 pounds of cocaine, 278,492 pounds of marijuana, 15,985 pounds of methamphetamine, 952 weapons and $51.5 million as well as 1,066 arrests and 47,872 apprehensions of undocumented migrants.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) is the unified border agency within the Department of Homeland Security charged with the management, control and protection of borders at and between official ports of entry. CBP is charged with securing the borders of the United States while enforcing hundreds of laws and facilitating lawful trade and travel.

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